Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Ride for World Health rolls through Athens

by Joey Rinaldi

Some people run, some people walk, and a lot of people drive. But one group of medical students is crossing the country…on bikes! Ride for World Health is a non-profit organization founded by a small group of medical students with a shared interest in global health issues.

Their journey began April 6th in San Diego and it will conclude 3,700 miles later in Washington D.C. on Memorial Day. On Tuesday, the group made its way from Columbus to Athens.

But the riders aren’t simply blazing a bike path across the nation. They are advocating improvements in the quality and accessibility of global healthcare, because they believe there is a disparity of resources affecting universal access to healthcare.

Listen to rider Dave Holder talk about the decision to bike across the country.

The group is using different methods, including fundraising. Last year’s beneficiaries, the Global Health Access Program (GHAP) and The Pendulum Project, collectively received over $60,000 in funds from the Ride's efforts.

Their 2008 beneficiary is Doctors Without Borders, an independent international medical humanitarian organization that delivers emergency aid to people in nearly 60 countries. Doctors Without Borders has already provided more than 210 tons of relief supplies as well as medical assistance to the survivors of the devastating earthquake in China. It also has more than 250 people in Myanmar to aid with cyclone relief, and more are arriving every day.

Coast-to-Coast Lecture Series
Additionally, the riders give an educational presentation on global healthcare every time they stop. After fueling up on some much needed dinner, they gave a presentation on poverty and disease at Ohio University’s Irvine Hall.

R4WH raises awareness of the following issues through its coast-to-coast lecture series and global health curriculum:
-Healthcare Access
-Poverty and Disease
-Infectious Diseases
-Women's and Children's Health

The riders got some much needed sleep before leaving Athens for their next destination of Smithville, West Virginia.

Since the Ride for World Health decided to make a stop in Athens, I decided to make a stop at Athens Bicycle to see how popular riding is in the area. Employee Tim Kirkendall says commuter bikes have been selling like hotcakes as gas prices continue to soar. The intricate trails in the area make mountain bikes a popular choice as well.

Tim Kirkendall of Athens Bicycle points out some great bike trails in the area.

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